Everyone is talking cloud today. That can lead to a lot of in-depth discussions about where a company sits in their ability to take advantage of the cloud, security concerns, management and control, and the list goes on. What a lot of companies don’t consider as they hold these conversations, is that they’re probably already taking advantage of “the cloud” and don’t realize it.

How can you not realize that you’re using cloud services? They’re those services that you’ve used for a while, they work, and as such, they feel like they’re a natural part of a department’s daily system and work processes. Need some examples? How do you handle payroll? Do you have a server in-house that you manage, host the application, and maintain yourself or do you use an outsourced service for payroll management that you access via a web interface? What do you use for your customer relationship management (CRM) system? Do you have that in-house or do you utilize an online service such as salesforce.com, as do an increasing number of businesses? These are the areas where companies have already moved into the cloud, but because they’ve been doing it that way for years, they don’t consider that as a hosted service. It is.

So, if you’re contemplating the concept of cloud and can’t figure out if it’s right for you…do a quick, informal inventory of all the departments in your company. Look at the different applications that you’re already using that you don’t host yourself. We’re willing to bet you can find at least one. Then, ask why the decision was made to go that way in the first place? What problem or pain did it alleviate? What issues have you had to deal with and how were they resolved? Finally – how can you solve other problems you’re currently facing with in-house systems, applications, infrastructure in the same way?

The cloud may be the buzz and can be confusing with all the offerings and opinions that are emerging. Make it simple on yourself and consider the cloud in a new way. We’re willing to guess that you’re already there…you just don’t realize it.